UN chief discusses Myanmar with China

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, on a visit to China, has held talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the situation in Myanmar ahead of the country`s much-criticised election next week.

Beijing: UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon, on a visit to China, has held talks with Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi on the situation in Myanmar ahead of the
country`s much-criticised election next week.

Ban met Yang in Shanghai yesterday on his first day in
China before attending the closing of the World Expo today.

"In addition to nuclear disarmament and
non-proliferation, (they) discussed the situation in the
Korean Peninsula, Myanmar and Sudan," a UN spokesperson
said in a statement emailed to AFP, without giving further
details.

The UN leader has already called for more pressure to
be put on Myanmar to free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
and others ahead of the nation`s first election in two decades
on November 7.

Western nations and activists have criticised the vote
as undemocratic, with Suu Kyi locked up, and pro-democracy
parties allege that restrictions imposed by the iron-fisted
military regime will virtually ensure it wins the poll.

China is one of Myanmar`s closest allies, and has long
helped it to keep afloat through trade ties, arms sales, and
by shielding it from UN sanctions over rights abuses as a
veto-wielding member of the Security Council.

Ban`s visit to China comes amid government anger over
the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu
Xiaobo.

The UN chief has not criticised China but said the
Nobel award recognised a "growing international consensus for
improving human rights practices and culture around the
world."

He is due to make a brief visit to the eastern city of
Nanjing near Shanghai, and then head for Beijing for talks
with China`s President Hu Jintao and other leaders.

PTI

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